Child rapist broke parole because his unit home was too hot, lawyer says

A CONVICTED child rapist who fled the Victorian residential unit where he was ordered to live under his parole conditions will use human rights laws to defend his breach of the court order.

The man, whose name has been suppressed, had been required to live at the compound in Ararat, in the state’s northwest, but he left the facility on January 27, disappearing while on an interim extended supervision order.  He was found by police two days later.  His lawyer Jarrod Williams told the Victorian County Court his client sought bail but conceded a return to the unit under supervision was the only option available.  “It’s a double bind,” Mr Williams said.

“There’s nothing else he can do … because that’s the order.  “It’s still a better place than have him remaining in custody.”  The man has pleaded not guilty to breaching the court order, and will use a defence under the Victorian Charter of Human Rights to argue he had a “reasonable excuse” for leaving the unit.  Mr Williams said his client, who had an intellectual disability, left the unit in January after finding it “oppressively hot” and inadequately airconditioned.

Counsel for the Department of Justice, Paul Holdenson, QC, said the offender had left a note which said: “I could not handle it any longer. I hope I won’t be back”.  He said the man posed a high risk of offending if granted bail and had previously broken his parole in May 2009, one day after being released from prison.  Judge Sue Pullen agreed the man posed an unacceptable risk of endangering the safety and wellbeing of the community if released on bail.

The man has been remanded in custody to appear at a contested hearing on June 28.

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